Nepalese men attacked fans before Shots' matchBy Stephanie Cockroft
May 09, 2012
A FIVE-MAN gang who threw missiles at innocent fans on the night of one of Aldershot’s most historic football games have been told they disgraced the Nepalese community.
The young Nepali men were in the dock on Thursday last week (May 3) after admitting launching the unprovoked attack during Aldershot Town FC’s high profile match against Manchester United last October.
The drunk defendants even threw two missiles at the innocent group during the "thoroughly disturbing" incident outside Yates’s wine bar in Victoria Road, the court was told.
During the sentencing hearing at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Philip Gillibrand told the defendants their behaviour had "badly damaged" the reputation of the Nepalese community.
But the judge stopped short of jailing the gang, adding that the defendants might have "sour feelings" from being provoked on other occasions by indigenous British "idiots".
He also told the defendants they had a duty to show everyone what a fantastic contribution the Nepalese community was making to this country.
All the defendants had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence.
The defendants were Mike Thakali, 20, of St Michaels Road, Aldershot, Jason Rai, 23, of St Christophers Place, Farnborough, Ganesh Bura, 18, of Kingsley Road, Farnborough, Rabin Gurung, 19, of York Road, Aldershot, and a 17-year-old from Camberley, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The court heard the incident started on October 25 after the defendants had been drinking at the Word of Mouth in the High Street.
The group then walked to Yates’s here they began hurling abuse and making insulting gestures at a nearby group of supporters from the other side of the road.
Weapons were then thrown and the incident escalated, despite intervention from police, the court was told.
Prosecutor Merenda Beckley told the judge that alcohol had played a "considerable part" in the incident.
She said there had only been one woman police officer on duty at that time, who had her "hands full".
“It had been a well-publicised football match and there was a lot of excitement in Aldershot,” she said.
“But there had been no signs of disturbance until the defendants came and offered provocation.”
The judge described the CCTV footage, which showed the full incident, as "thoroughly disturbing".
He said: “It turned into a really quite unpleasant incident in respect of the police officer. I hope you feel ashamed of your behaviour.”
Ms Beckley also asked the judge to consider whether the offenders went into Aldershot solely to cause trouble.
But defence solicitor Rebecca Shortt successfully argued that the incident should not be categorised as football violence.
Passing sentence, Judge Gillibrand said he would treat the defendants leniently because he believed they had learned their lessons.
He said: “You have let the Nepalese community down.
“So far as you are here, you are welcome in this country and are appreciated and valued members of the community.
“You should uphold the high standards which you know are part of your culture, and have gentlemanly behaviour.
“We have got to set an example for the future. Do the best you can. Show everybody what a fantastic contribution you can make to this country.”
He added: “There are some indigenous British people who do not know how to behave and you might have sour feelings about the way you are treated.
“But come on - we will stand together. There is no need for you to be involved in this sort of incident. You have damaged the rest of the Nepalese community.
“I expect you to behave in a good way, even if there are idiots provoking you, which I know was not what happened in this incident.”
Judge Gillibrand sentenced the four older defendants to a 12-month community order and ordered them to complete 100 hours' unpaid work.
The 17-year-old was given a six-moth referral order with the youth offending panel.
All the defendants, except for Rai, were also ordered to pay £105 costs.
PC Rob Botting, from Aldershot CID, said: “This was a great event for Aldershot Town playing host to Manchester United at our local ground and all their visiting fans.
"There was a great atmosphere in a run up to this event and on the night of the match.
“Sadly though this was ruined by a small minority who sought to spoil this atmosphere and acted in a way which was not acceptable.
“We will not accept this behaviour and will look to prosecute anyone who causes problems on our streets.”